Is it really the semis already?!
At the top of the program Mary Murphy expresses shock about Janette getting kicked off last week since she “didn’t miss a single step throughout the show,” then urges the audience to vote based on the whole season, not just their favorite performer or performance of the week. Don’t remember hearing a judge say something like that before. Wow, they all really liked Janette (as did I, as everyone knows!).
Then Nigel says he thinks no one is really standing out as a star this season, unlike in seasons past; that’s why people are voting for the choreography and not the dancers. I agree with him to an extent. Generally, there haven’t been any standouts, which is actually making this season kind of boring to me. I do think Evan has stood out a bit, but mainly with his solos, where he kind of takes on a character like Charlie Chaplin, Gene Kelly, etc. But he hasn’t delivered with the duets.
The group routine for the men is choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. I thought, from seeing the three guys in distinction to each other — Ade, Brandon, and Evan, that Ade’s lines and form were much better than the other two. His jumps were higher, his extensions longer, and overall his movement more powerful and precise.
And all of what I just said above: ditto for Kayla on the women’s routine, also choreographed by Sonya.
My favorite solos of the night were by Brandon, Ade and Melissa.
Brandon’s solo was I think, one of my favorite things of the whole night, period. It was wholly unique, something we definitely haven’t seen from him before and I agree with Nigel that it was probably the best of the season, maybe even ever on the show. He looked like a god, all those Apollo-like poses, and the gorgeous acrobatics (though unlike his other solos, it wasn’t all about those). And I loved those slow creeping crawls on the ground. Different, and really beautiful.
Ade’s was similar to what he’s done before but it seemed to have more power and flare — the quick, athletic full-out movements went with the music better than his prior solos have. And how many pirouettes was that?! I also liked Melissa’s kind of bluesy ballet. I liked when she inched her one foot away from the other slowly on the ground, in time with the notes.
I felt like the rest of the dancers did their typical thing with their solos: Evan’s jazzy Sinatra-esque thing, Jeanine’s sexpot, Kayla’s cute kind of frolicking around, albeit with excellent lines — I just felt it’s what we’ve seen before from them and nothing better.
Hmm, Jeanine and Ade’s Samba… Well, it wasn’t a proper Samba to me — it was too into the ground, no bounce. It was like a Samba funk or something. The judges said those things too about it not being proper, but Louis Van Amstel said during practice it wasn’t going to be standard Samba, so I don’t know if those are really proper criticisms. Anyway, interestingly I thought Jeanine did better at twisting her pelvis full-circle during practice than during the actual performance. Ade’s bachachatas were fun. Some impressive lifts, like the one where holds her in a split then dips her, head-first to the floor.
Why did Lil C talk about how gorgeous Jeanine looks? She is very pretty, but who cares what she looks like? How she dances is what’s important. I really don’t understand a lot of what Lil C says, but it seems they play that up, like that’s the point of having him on the show — so people can have a laugh at his verbosity.
I liked but didn’t love Melissa and Evan’s Broadway routine by Tyce DiOrio. I was surprised that Melissa did so well given that it was slapsticky and she doesn’t have that kind of background. I thought she really got into the character and there was some real flash. I felt like Evan did everything right and gave it sufficient character, but somehow it just wasn’t over the top enough. I know that sounds vague — it’s what the judges said too — but it was good, it just didn’t have that something more that I feel has been lacking in the show all season.
Wow, I loved Kayla and Brandon’s contemporary routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey. What gorgeous leg lines for Kayla! That developpe! Two of them — one in a lift and one standing. She is amazing. And I love how she contorted her body at the beginning to show how much emotional pain her character was in, how conflicted she was (she’s supposed to be leaving her husband for him, but he’s also an abusive lover). That’s the best kind of choreography — original and specific. I also loved the part where he pushes her forward in a dipped position, holding her only by the neck, under which he’d cupped his hand — it shows the emotional control he has over her. Very intense. Totally agree with Nigel about the genius of Stacey Tookey. Brandon had some great moves too — that tour jete was breathtaking. But I didn’t think his movements had the same specificity as hers.
Haha, Jeanine and Brandon’s hip hop (by Tabitha and Napoleon) is about a couple getting evicted from their apartment and, fittingly I guess, right when it started, Godzilla started sounding like she was going to push a piano or god knows what straight through the floor (her floor, my ceiling); I had to go up there and scream and missed the dance. Fortunately, I had the tape running — you’ve got to tape shows if you’re going to write about them when you’ve got a Godzilla living above you… seriously. Oh could my landlord please evict her, or do something… Anyway, I haven’t been in love with the hip hop routines this season and this one was no different, but I do think their dancing was right on. I thought she had some great poses — like that one where she’s between his legs and she has her back leg up in attitude, her fist kind of making an attitude of its own. I liked her hop-scotching over and around and between his legs. And the part where they put their feet in the boxes and kind of sloughed around was very cool, and perfectly fitting for the storyline.
I actually liked Melissa and Evan’s Quickstep. Evan said Louis van Amstel performed a magic trick by positioning them so that she would look shorter than he, but that wasn’t a trick, it’s the Standard martini-glass handhold! The woman leans back so that the pair forms what looks like a martini glass shape. I thought Melissa looked really lovely and the Fred Astaire-ish style suited Evan. There were parts where it looked a bit unbalanced, but those were the parts where they came out of the martini handhold, and then I think the inbalances were due to their height difference. When they did their side-by-side Charleston kicks and bent-kneed rondes, they were right on.
I didn’t like Brandon and Kayla’s Disco, by Doriana Sanchez, at all. I thought it looked like they were trying too hard and that it was forced. It looked almost like they were stomping at points. And some of those lifts just looked clumsy, like the one where she came out of her upside-down splits lift — her legs were all awkwardly bent — and the first lift when he picked her up by the outer leg, it seemed her leg turned in rather than out. Just didn’t look right. She looked so out of her element I had a hard time even focusing on him. But of course he had that amazing backflip series. I liked Melissa and Ade’s prior Disco a lot better.
Overall, even though I didn’t like the Disco, Kayla is still my favorite, but she was in the bottom two last week so I’m not getting my hopes up. Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow night. I feel like this show has been completely unpredictable this season.